Two young Hucknall Labour councillors have spoken of their hopes for the party’s future after meetings with leadership hopeful Jeremy Corbyn.
The veteran left-winger’s arrival in the race to replace Ed Miliband has sparked fears that the party will be ‘unelectable’ in the wake of a his victory, but has also enthused many other voters to join the Labour party - swelling membership to 270,000.
Coun Lauren Mitchell, 19, of Hucknall South Ward and elected in May as the youngest member of Ashfield District Council, addressed over 900 people at a rally for Mr Corbyn at Derby’s Roundhouse on Saturday night.
She said: “Over the past weeks, Jeremy has enthused thousands of young people, has produced exciting ideas about equality, has supported the work of local government, and, just this week, put forward much-needed policies about mental health.”
Using first hand experience, she spoke of the struggles facing both young people and local government, and discussed a Corbyn-led Labour Party which would end all tuition fees and restore student grants, the Education Maintenance Allowance and Disabled Students Allowance, as well as introducing a living wage of £10 an hour for all workers and the scrapping of zero hour contracts.
“We’re now entering the final weeks of the campaign, a campaign that will determine the future, not only of our party but for millions of people across Britain who have been crying out for someone like Corbyn,” she said.
“I am sure that this leadership contest will eventually lead us to a Corbyn government, a government where no-one is forgotten, no-one is punished for who they are, and no-one is denied a future.”
Coun Keir Morrison, of Hucknall South Ward, described the May election results as ‘a humbling shock result for the Labour Party’ but said that when Jeremy Corbyn entered the race ‘the whole Labour leadership election changed’.
He said: “The Corbyn campaign has morphed into an optimistic movement which has set out an agenda for hope, equality, justice and fairness for all. The young, old, disabled, people of ethnic minorities and the LGBT community have all embraced Jeremy’s vision – a Socialist vision and an alternative to Tory austerity misery.
“Corbyn is not an extremist. He has faced character assassination, smears and personal attacks on a daily basis from has-been so called ‘grandees’ and the media. And, whilst keeping his cool and not indulging in mudslinging, Jeremy has stuck to promoting the type of politics and ideas that can inspire and engage people disillusioned with the political class.”
Coun Morrison said he spotted a ‘number of Hucknallites’ among the 1,200 people who listened to Mr Corbyn speak at a sold-out event at Nottingham’s Albert Hall month.
He said: “I am proud that Jeremy has inspired so many people who are sick of the ‘Yah-Boo-Sucks’ politics and drew them together to take part in the political process to elect a new Labour Party leader.”
Standing on a ‘clear anti-austerity platform’ Mr Corbyn said he was ‘standing to give Labour Party members a voice in this debate.’
His proposed economic policies, referred to as unrealistic ‘Corbynomics’ by some, have been endorsed by 41 prominent economists, who say his opposition to austerity is ‘actually mainstream economics, even backed by the conservative International Monetary Fund.’
Bulwell MP Graham Allen said: “The Labour leadership campaign has been a brilliant and exciting democratic exercise, where everyone including thousands of young people have had a chance to participate and put their point of view.
“We need to learn the lessons of our defeat in the recent election and whoever wins next Saturday will have to rebuild a clear vision and a practical offer to meet the circumstances of 2020.”
Mr Corbyn is in a four-way fight against Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Andy Burnham to be named the next Labour Party leader.
The Labour Party leadership election result will be announced on Saturday September 12.